EIF #2 — The Global Warming of My Mental Illness (A [Very Long] Poem)

Author’s note: Hey everybody! I am super nervous about posting this because 1. It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything resembling “poetry” on this blog, and this particular poem is super long. 2. It’s a really vulnerable piece I wrote during a manic episode earlier this year, after coming out of a really dark depression.

The first half-ish is pretty sad, but hopefully it’s worth the read.

TW: Brief, non-descriptive death mention.

Please let me know what you think in the comments!


Desperately ill,

The ink, oh, it spills from the corners of my mind.

Black fades to white,

A longstanding fight with the monsters in my mind.

The harsh winters, they nip at my fingers, and so I light a fire.

But I stand too close to the flame.

And oh, the fire burns, but oh, so do the words, as they tangle my throat and on them I choke,

But nothing, nothing hurts like it used to, ’cause even the burns, I’m used to.

When everybody leaves you.

You are alone,

And nowhere is home.

And everything new is just something else to get used to.

And people are sure to abuse you.

And they’ll use you.

Til you’re not you.

Just a “used to”.

Til you don’t even know what you used to be.

So, if You will,

Oh, I’d like You to spill,

Just a splash of truth on these lies.

Maybe it’ll get me through the night.

Just tell me, how long must I fight?

And tell me, is this even right?

And am I enough to survive?

The summer comes but once a year,

And every year it gets a little colder.

And the harsh winters, they nip at my fingers.

It’s too cold to light a fire.

So, as the ashes smoulder,

I pull my sweater closer,

But try as I might,

I can’t win this fight,

It’s forty below and I can’t see the light!

They told me that all brokenness, no matter the level distress, will all be a means that leads to an end, and if that’s the truth, I’ll will be such a good mess at the end, when I’m dead.

They say that brokenness makes you stronger.

But I’m just getting bitter,

The battle gets bigger.

And the summer gets colder.

And fall just gets greyer.

And I truly don’t think that this spring will come.

But soon the year will end,

And then what?!

What is the point? I scream to the void,

Is anybody listening? Am I just making noise?

Oh, what is the point? I scream to the void,

Am I alone in this thing?

Come back, and answer me!

You’re the one who created this brain that I’m hatin’ and my demons, they refuse to leave.

My winters get harsher and summers get colder and You’re awfully bold to assume,

That I, just a girl,

Can handle this world,

With nobody’s hands to hold,

Or is it me that’s being too bold?

I stand on a rock,

And I scream up at God,

And I must be a sight to behold.

The King of Creation must feel devastation when He sees my desolate soul.

But if I’m gonna fight,

He should turn on a light,

‘Cause a battle in darkness seems a one sided fight.

So give me a knife, or give me a pen, give me a weapon with which I defend myself.

And a light for my path couldn’t hurt.

But now this is greedy,

I’ll stop being needy, but please, just answer my cries for help!

And He said,

Trust in My plan,

This isn’t the end,

Bitterness leads only to bitter ends.

You can be bitter or you can be better,

You make the choice now, it’ll serve you forever.

This battle is almost over.

Victory is nigh.

And yes, you are strong to survive.

So, take your madness and turn it to light.

Oh, you’ve had the switch this whole time!

Power, it spills from the ink on my quill and I no longer shake in the cold.

My hands they may tremble, for but a moment,

But only ‘cause I’m growing old.

A life was lived long and to full.

The earth, oh, she creaks beneath my feet,

Signs of a weathering storm.

But I’m not alone anymore.

And together we weather this storm.

So in the harshest winter, the cold still nips my fingers,

But I use what made me bitter,

And I let it fuel my fire.

The fire, it is warm, but it does me no harm,

I stand far away from its flame,

The words come out fast and they make sense at last,

And they no longer choke me inside.

I put pen to paper and become a narrator of the stories I have in my soul.

So what I learned in the seasons is that even when it gets colder,

The summers will get warm again,

It can’t stay cold forever.

And you must not surrender.

March on in the darkness, and don’t ever quit ’cause the moment before you surrender, is when you’re the closest to light.

The madness that chases you down and threatens to bury you now is the very same madness that summons your sadness, but can also bring joy or delight.

So harness the darkness and drag it behind you until you can set it on fire.

And the fire will burn,

But no, it won’t hurt,

And oh, what a sight to behold!

The warmth and the light will fuel you at night,

And you will be safe and sound.

Spring brings new life to the world,

And the summers will get warmer,

So, even if the winter sends a chill through your bones,

Don’t fret,

Every season comes to an end,

And fall will put things right again,

But only if you remember,

That you must not surrender, as a pen must have a holder, and your story begs to be told, in only the way that you know.

And only your madness can turn all your sadness into a light.

Phone Anxiety

My heart calls to You,

You answer on the first ring,

I guess You’ve been waiting for me to call, after all, You called me first.

I know, I heard the phone ring hours ago, but I was too afraid to pick up and say hello.

Now I’ve got You on the other end again, and I’m still too afraid to speak,

My heart races, my voice shakes, but You’re patient, so You’ll wait.

But I’ll hang up, and I’ll hang up, and I’ll hang up again, because my heart pounds too hard to hear Your voice anyway.

And when I come to my senses I’ll call back, and You’ll always pick up, and You’ll love me through my anxiety and my stubborn pride.

Thank You.

I Miss My Friends

My head’s a mess,

I miss my friends,

But trying to reply is the biggest mountain I have to face sometimes.

I’m frustrated and I’m tired.

I want to talk, but I don’t have the energy that’s required.

It takes a lot from me to make conversation,

Honestly, I lack the motivation.

Please be patient with me, and know that I love you, even if it takes me two weeks to respond.

Fireworks

He came into my life like fireworks on a week night.

He was loud and unexpected, but not completely unwelcome.

I knew from the moment I saw him that he’d be temporary, but I was captivated by his brightness and beauty, so I stayed.

Everyone wanted to be around him, and I was lucky enough to find a spot in his crowd.

I told myself not to get too attached because fireworks never last, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he could be different.

I thought maybe he’d continue to light up my skies, against all odds and expectations.

He was a rebel, after all, so I had some hope he’d defy everything I knew up to that point by sticking around.

But he didn’t.

He was gone too soon, leaving only a trail of smoke in his wake.

The rest of his audience scattered quickly. Running off to live their lives again, or maybe find another firework show to watch.

But I continued to stare at the dark sky, at the memories he left behind, at the hypothetical situations I’d created for us, as they faded to black in front of my eyes.

If only I knew exactly how soon he’d be gone, I might’ve stayed inside my house, to save myself the heartache of watching him disappear,

But like fireworks, I’m glad I got to watch his display while it was here.

MondayTuesdayFriday

It’s Monday,

No, maybe it’s Tuesday,

Scratch that, it has to be Friday by now.

I don’t know anymore, and if I’m being really honest, I don’t care.

I can’t keep track of my days.

Everything blurs together. Everything is the same.

What is the point?

Why do I open my eyes every MondayTuesdayFriday?

To eat Cheerios and attempt to fight the inevitable death I will face in time?

To smile at the air, at the ground, at strangers whose mouths turn up and down robotically?

To type letters in sequence we declare “words”?

Are they supposed to mean something?

If you say a word enough, your brain realizes you’re not making sense.

Word.

Word.

Word.

Does it still look okay to you?

Word.

Word.

Word.

How about now?

It’s lost its meaning to me.

Everything has lost its meaning to me.

Do I open my eyes every MondayTuesdayFriday to do sit ups in hope for a “summer body”?

To impress you?

To impress me?

To impress God?

I know by that look of disdain, you could not care less.

I, myself, am unimpressed,

And nobody can impress God.

So what is the point?

I live in this state of uncertainty, of blurriness, of never knowing what day it is, and I feel ill in this MondayTuesdayFriday place in which I reside.

The Boy In The Hat

Sometimes I see people and I know I have to write them down on paper somewhere. You were one of those people from the first time I saw you, but I couldn’t find the words to write you out until now.

You see, I often thought I hated you, but still I empathized with you; the dark grey boy in a superhero hat, smoking like a chimney by the brick building, matching the weather with your bitter mood. You never looked happy out there, or inside, or anywhere.

You always waited until the last second to get out of your car, to light up your smoke, to enter the doors. You stood on the sidewalk with your back turned to the rest of us, to protect yourself, I think.

I had this thought that maybe you wouldn’t smoke if people would talk to you, instead of about you.

I wondered if you’d be less mean if you weren’t stuck playing defence; but the whispers started as soon as you walked in, and I understood why you’d raise your voice to silence them.

You weren’t as bad as everyone said.

Just a declawed kitten with a lion’s roar, and a soft heart with an electric fence around its core.

Homesick.

Sometimes I feel like a little kid running away from everything I’m told is good for me; from that Bible verse that says, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”, from everything my parents taught me was right, from the very God who created me and everything around me, even though I know He’s the only one who makes any sense in this life.

Every time I come back into His presence I wonder how I ever thought it was a good idea to run toward the darkness, toward the bitterness, toward the feelings of self-pity, alternating with feelings of self-righteousness, to run toward that horrible Frank Sinatra song about doing it my way, when in reality my way sucks, but still I wander off again, easily distracted by shiny things in the distance, only to find that they won’t satisfy.

Sometimes I get so lost in the dark woods of the world that I don’t know if I’ll ever get back Home, and I beat myself up for leaving to begin with, wondering if my Father will ever forgive me, or if I’ve gone too deep to ever get back to where I used to be, but the minute I call for my Daddy, He always comes marching into the darkness to get me, never demanding that I come out of the woods first, which is great because my chances of ever making it out of the woods on my own are slim to none.